The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi
George just can’t get away from his little brothers. They follow him everywhere, even into the bathroom! George has had enough. So when he finds the box from the new washing machine, George builds himself a way to travel far away. In fact, he goes to Nowhere. Nowhere is wide open and empty, but George quickly fixes that by dumping things out of his box. In no time at all, Nowhere is incredibly fun. But wait, there are no dragons to fight and no pirates to sail the seas. Perhaps there is room in this new space for a few more people to play.
Zuppardi takes a classic story of imaginative play and makes it rambunctious and fun. George’s frustration with his younger brothers is tangible in the early pages as is the relief of being alone for awhile. The story is simply told with a frankness and with the images and George’s own imagination carrying the tale forward.
The images are a huge part of what makes this book worth reading. They have a similar energy level to the “No, David” books. As the box becomes more of the story, cardboard is incorporated into the scenes, forming the ground and most of the objects. The images are bright and bold, perfect for high energy kids.
A story of imagination and being an older sibling, this book will be enjoyed by any child who has loved a big box. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.
Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
Released on June 15, 2013.
Three children scramble out of bed at their grandpa’s house to a rainy day. But they don’t want to stay inside, so Grandpa sends them outside to find colors to add to his Rainbow Stew. They splash their way into the garden and look under the wet green leaves to find what colors are hidden beneath. They find all sorts of green vegetables like beans, spinach, and cucumbers, some rosy radishes, some purple cabbage, yellow peppers, red tomatoes and brown potatoes. Soon their basket is full and the three children are muddy and happy. They all head inside to cook the stew together, each child helping in their own way. Then there is quiet time inside as the stew cooks, until finally they can all enjoy Rainbow Stew!
Falwell merrily combines a love of gardening and a willingness to get muddy in this book. She uses quick rhymes that add a bouncy feel to the book, maintaining that sense of joy that is everywhere in this book. I am particularly pleased to see a book with a grandfather taking expert care of grandchildren in this book.
The illustrations are filled with falling rain, but also small faces turned up into it and knees plunked down into the mud. The completely African-American family is also great to see in a picture book that easily integrates into rain or gardening or color units and story times.
Ripe and ready to be picked, this is a great choice for sharing aloud in spring or fall. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Lee & Low Books via NetGalley.
The World Is Waiting for You by Barbara Kerley
Another visually gorgeous book from National Geographic, this book ties together what kids do at a young age with what they can become as an adult. The book invites children to get out into the world and explore. After all, if you love getting wet, you could become a diver. Love digging in the mud? You could be an archeologist. Love looking at the stars? Climbing trees? Digging into deep holes in the ground? All of these and more are skillfully tied to careers in a book that is less about getting children to buckle down and more about getting them to open up and fly.
Kerley’s prose reads like a poem, each line designed as an invitation to be themselves and get into things that they love. Even better, those same thrilling things are tied to life as an adult, offering options for turning their passions into careers. Yet this book does not dwell there, instead it is a cornucopia of ideas, one after another meant to inspire thought and dreaming than to instruct on specific jobs.
As always in National Geographic books, the illustrations are crisp and colorful photographs. Here readers will see children out in nature, interacting and loving it. The images are from around the world and are filled with joy and motion. At the end of the book, details on each image are given.
Bright, colorful and filled with inspiration, this is a career book that children will find thrilling. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
Reviewed from library copy.